The 29th annual Verge Northampton International Cyclocross will take place this weekend at Look Park in Northampton, Mass. This year, the course has been revised to remove what Adam Myerson called “tedious pedaling” to keep more riders on the lead lap. Most of the edits removed out and backs and edited turns for the sake of flow and safety.
Myerson and Cycle-Smart rider Merv Davis, perhaps inspired by Finn Westover’s Nationals preview put together a course preview video that gives riders a good idea of what to expect this weekend.
The course will largely remain the same for both days of racing, but day 2 will run in reverse. Due to the alternative direction, there will be two start chutes. On day 1, riders will enter from the right while on day 2 the course will be entered from the left. Soon after entering the course riders pass pit 1 before entering a pair of 90 degree turns, which are also the final turns before passing the start-finish line.
Look Park is home to several baseball fields, which have become a feature of the course. The dirt is soft and ruts easily, making for an interesting riding surface. After the first baseball field riders go onto the pavement before a few grass turns into the woods. A flowing track takes riders to the infamous Northampton Run Up.
Back on bikes on the high ground riders take a 90 degree turn around the gazebo before dropping back to ground level. The drop has two lines, with the pros going to the right and facing a much steeper descent. Riders follow train tracks into the sand, which is separated into two sections by a 180-degree turn. The sand is packed in the video, but Myerson warns that it becomes harder as more people ride it.
Exiting the sand, the course passes pit 2 before riders cross the train tracks for the first time. After some straight grass pedaling riders cross the tracks again and head back into the woods for some stair climbing. An off-camber turn takes the course into a technical wooded area which will feature mud and root carpets.
From there the course takes another drop off straight into the train tracks for a third time. Myerson cautioned that riders should pay attention here, as it’s possible to “send it unintentionally”.
After passing the expo area the course heads into the 30cm barriers, which should be hoppable, according to Myerson. After another trip through a baseball diamond, the course returns to the start-finish area.